Saturday, June 27, 2009

Bakewell Tart... er... Pudding

The June Daring Bakers' challenge was hosted by Jasmine of Confessions of a Cardamom Addict and Annemarie of Ambrosia and Nectar. They chose a Traditional (UK) Bakewell Tart... er... pudding that was inspired by a rich baking history dating back to the 1800's in England.

I was at first very excited about this challenge because it involved the preparation of three layers of desserts I'd never prepared (frangipane/Victoria Sponge, homemade jam, shortbread pastry dough), and it was a dessert I'd never had or heard of. After thinking about each layer later on, my excitement waned because I thought that the dessert would be boring and lacking in flavour/flavor. Every time I ached to make a dessert, my eyes would glaze over the assigned Bakewell Tart/Pudding to some other "more appetizing" dessert. After I finally had given in and made the Bakewell Tart/Pudding, however, I regretted delaying the process for so long. The tarts/puddings were so good.

Since I live alone, I halved the recipe and prepared them in small, individual tart pans. Also, I'm not a fan of nuts, so I made half the recipe of a Queen Victoria Sponge Cake as the top layer instead of the frangipane. I also made homemade strawberry jam and blueberry jam for the middle layer to make two different tarts/puddings. I made the shortbread crust a day before making the entire tart/pudding. The crust was very similar to making regular pie crust.

All layers were very easy to make and quick to come together. My only problem was getting the sponge cake to cook throughout. In both varieties of tarts/puddings, the cake layers came out very brown on top but were not fully cooked on the bottom of its layer. I'm assuming they came out like that because of the jam layer. Nevertheless, both tarts/puddings were very good. I preferred the blueberry one out of the two.

Thanks for this challenge; it was fun!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Quick Pan-Fried Salmon

When my mother came to visit me for a few days, she purchased three packets of salmon. I told her that she shouldn't buy salmon since she would have to keep them cold during her 8-hour trip back to Arkansas. She bought them anyway promising that she would keep them in a ice-filled cooler. A few hours into her car trip, she called me and said frantically, "I forgot to take the salmon out of the freezer! I left them at your house!" I laughed and said, "I told you that you shouldn't have bought the salmon." After I promised her I would eat the salmon for her so that they wouldn't go to waste, she doubted me.

After I saw a quicker method of cooking salmon than the way I usually do it (oven-baked while wrapped in foil), I decided to try that out with one of the pieces of salmon. It was so good, that I'm going to eat the second piece of salmon today. Thanks, mom! :D I told you that I would eat it!

Quickie Grilled or Pan-Fried Salmon
adapted from Noob Cook

Ingredients (1 serving)

  1. 1 piece of salmon fillet
  2. Lawry's Seasoning Salt, kosher salt, or organic sea salt
  3. Freshly cracked black pepper
  4. One or two herbs you have in the pantry (optional)
  5. 1/2 - 1 Tbsp of butter or olive oil


Pull out the bones from the salmon fillet using your fingers or a tweezer, or use the boneless variety, like I did. Season the fish with salt or seasoning salt, black pepper, and herbs.Melt a knob of butter and spread it evenly on the griddle pan (or use olive oil). Grill the salmon fillet, skin side down first, for about 4 minutes each side (or till lightly browned) over medium fire. I pan-fried my fish, and it was perfect!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Pizza Hut Clone Pizza

For an update on this recipe, go here. The photos look better there; I promise!I was surprised at how good this tasted. The taste was very similar to that of Pizza Hut. I saw this recipe many months ago after doing a google search for pizza hut dough, but I never got around to making it because of the requisite non-fat dry milk ingredient. I later saw the recipe on Real Mom Kitchen and bookmarked it for the future.

When my mother came into town to visit me, she wanted me to make this pizza for her and thus purchased the missing ingredient, along with fresh mozzarella, provolone, mini pepperoni, and other things. Unfortunately, I never got around to making it for her (she is still complaining about that to this day hehe). I finally got around to trying it yesterday, and it was perfect. I think I like this recipe more than the Reinhart recipe! I love how I can make personal pan pizze instead of one big one.

I made three balls of dough in total and placed one in the freezer (for another day) and the other in the refrigerator (for tomorrow) after I allowed them to ferment overnight in the refrigerator. The first ball of dough was formed into pizza, baked, and eaten gleefully. Although the recipe doesn't state it, I highly suggest parbaking the dough for about 4-6 minutes before putting on the toppings. The edges of my pizza were golden brown; however, the base of the pizza was not done. I had to place foil along the crust and cook it for 5-7 minutes more than what the recipe states (and my oven tends to overheat!). I made this pizza with homemade tomato sauce, mozzarella, provolone, mushrooms, and mini pepperoni.

Don't worry, mom! I will make this for you when I visit you in July! Love you! :)

Pizza Hut Pan Pizza
adapted from Real Mom Kitchen

1 1/3 C Warm water (105F/40C)
1 pk Dry yeast (2 1/4 tsp)
1 Tbsp Sugar
1/4 C Non−fat dry milk
2 Tbsp Vegetable oil (for dough)
1/2 tsp Salt
4 C Flour
approx. 9 Oz Vegetable oil (3 oz. per pan)
Butter flavored Pam (optional)

Put yeast, sugar, and dry milk in a large (2 qt.) bowl. Add the water and stir to mix well. Allow to sit for two minutes. Add oil and stir again. Add flour and salt and stir until dough forms and flour is absorbed. Turn out on to a flat surface and knead for about 10 minutes. (If using a stand mixer, mix the ingredients with a dough hook and then knead the dough for about 4-5 minutes.) Divide dough into three balls. In three 9" cake pans ( or can use 1 - 9 inch pie plate and 1 - 9 x 13 dish) , put 3 Oz. of oil in each making sure it is spread evenly. Using a rolling pin, roll out each dough ball to about a 9" circle. Place in cake pans. Spray the outer edge of dough with Pam (optional). Cover with a plate. Place in warm area and allow to rise for 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

1 8 Oz Can Tomato Sauce
1 tsp Dry Oregano
1/2 tsp Marjoram
1/2 tsp Dry Basil
1/2 tsp Garlic salt
1/2 tsp sugar (to offset the bitterness of the tomato sauce)
Combine and let sit for 1 hour while the dough rises.

For Each Nine Inch Pizza:
Preheat oven to 475F (I cooked at 450). Spoon 1/3 cup sauce on dough and spread to within 1" of edge. Distribute 1 1/2 Oz. shredded mozzarella cheese on sauce. Place toppings of your choice in this order: Pepperoni or Ham, Vegetables, Meats (cooked ground sausage or beef). Top with 3 Oz. mozzarella cheese. Cook until cheese is bubbling and outer crust is brown about 15 minutes. I then brush outer edge of crust with garlic butter.